A. Starting Points

As noted, the Investigating Quality (IQ) project was significantly influenced by earlier work that had been undertaken by Alan Pence. That work, commencing in 1989, had fundamentally re-formed his orientation to addressing ‘quality’ in early childhood care and education. A central experience was an invitation to work with a large Indigenous tribal council concerned that their own values and understandings regarding children’s care and development were being eroded through western-based educational practices. The result of this collaboration with the Council was the development of a community-sensitive ‘Generative Curriculum’ (see www.fnpp.org)—an approach that was described in chapter 8 of Valuing Quality (1994), but which also greatly influenced Pence’s ‘R/ruler’ presentation at Seville in 1992. In turn, the editing of Valuing Quality with Peter Moss, led Pence and Moss to collaborate with Gunilla Dahlberg to write Beyond Quality (1999)—republished by Routledge in their “Education Classics editions” in 2013. Both Valuing Quality and Beyond Quality were inspirational for Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw while working on her doctorate in the 1990s, before joining UVic in 2003,  and collaborating with Pence as Co-Director of the IQ project at its commencement in 2005.

A second key influence on the IQ project was an appreciation that effecting fundamental change at a ‘state-level’ would require engagement across multiple systems and system levels—from the political, to practice and family levels. The project was fortunate that its ‘origins’ were internal to the Ministry—not something proposed from ‘outside’ that needed to be ‘sold’ to government. It was also fortuitous that the Ministry described the initiative as a ‘partnership’, opening the way for inclusionary and participatory processes. Building on these facilitative characteristics, Pence and Pacini-Ketchabaw reasoned, given the magnitude of the ideological shift envisioned, that it would be important to bring to the table evidence that significantly-sized jurisdictions had made such transformations successfully and with evidence of benefits in doing so. These would be important stories to tell, and who better to tell them than individuals who had played key roles in their realization. A list of international guests began to form, along with lists of systems, sectors and leaders within BC who should engage with those innovators (see Forums and change agents).

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